Pros: Innovative design using robust high-insulating material. Easy access for cleaning. Available in a wide range of styles, colours and designs. 10 year guarantee.
Cons: A little on the heavy side… although once in situ that’s not really an issue and the weight actually makes the box more stable. Not 100% sure of the eco-credentials of the concrete element of the material used.
The Woodstone range of nest boxes by Vivara/CJ Wildlife offers an innovative twist on traditional wooden nest box designs. Constructed from a novel combination of concrete and natural wood fibres, these boxes are strong, long-lasting and offer superb insulating properties — making for happier birds and more successful broods.
Rating: Highly Recommended
Woodstone® Seville 28mm Nestbox Full Review
Nest boxes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they are all much the same. Four walls, a roof, a floor and either an entrance hole or open front to allow access to potential residents. It’s rare to see anything truly innovative when it comes to nest boxes. So I was intrigued when I received one of CJ Wildlife Ireland’s new Woodstone nestboxes to review on the site.
This was unlike any nest box I’d ever seen.
Woodstone boxes are cast from what appears to be cement or concrete, but a closer look reveals there’s more going on here. The material is actually made from (and I guess the clue is in the name) a clever combination of concrete and sustainable FSC certified wood fibres. In other words, it’s made out of concrete, mixed with sawdust.
The result is a material that’s strong, hard-wearing, has superb insulating properties and is breathable. That ticks a lot of the right boxes for the perfect nest box. An ideal nest box has to keep birds… and their eggs and chicks, dry and at a temperature that doesn’t fluctuate too much through the breeding season. A good nest box should stay cool enough on hot-summer days, and retain heat when it’s cooler outside, or when parent birds are away foraging.
Wood does a great job of that, which is why the vast majority of nest boxes on the market are made of wood. The one problem with wood is that it doesn’t last, particularly in the Irish climate. Because you can’t really treat nest boxes with potentially harmful/toxic preservatives, wooden boxes can deteriorate quickly. You’ll get a few seasons out of them, maybe four if you’re lucky, but then you’ll have to replace them.
Woodstone boxes are different. They don’t deteriorate or degrade, won’t rot, are impervious to the Irish climate, and, of course, unlike wooden nest boxes, they are impenetrable to predators. They also come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, a selection of colours, and with different entrance options to suit different bird species. There are even speciality Woodstone boxes for species like swifts, house martins and even kingfishers.
So in theory, Woodstone nest boxes make sense. But what about in practice?
Using Woodstone nest boxes.
The first thing to note is that these things are heavy. They have a significant heft, so you’ll need to make sure you fix them securely. Luckily, they come with a tree-friendly stainless steel hook that simply screws in, and the nest box hangs easily from that (there’s also a wall-plug included if you want to attach it to a wall). Thanks to its weight, the nest box stays put, even in strong winds, so there’s no need for additional fixings.
For cleaning, the front panel is detachable. You simply rotate the two metal fasteners anticlockwise, and remove the front plate, giving easy access to the body of the nest box.
This Woodstone Seville 28mm nest box has replaced a wooden nest box that had seen much better days here at IWHQ. It’s been up about a month, looks great, and has shown no signs of ill effects from the wind and rain of an Irish January and February. So far there have been no visitors, but it’s still a little early yet. A pair of blue tits used the previous nest box in the same location every year, so I have high hopes they’ll take up residence in this upgraded des-res once the breeding season kicks in.
If you’re looking for a nest box upgrade, or just a new nest box that will withstand the rigours of the Irish climate for a decade or more, check out the Woodstone range on the Birdfood.ie website.